The most vital ingredients for a successful race are location, location, location says Mark Davis, the originator of the August bank holiday Vachery Triathlon Festival, a weekend of road and cross triathlon racing, with camping and fun activities for kids of all ages.
The Vachery Estate is a great location. It’s less than 30 minutes from the M3, M23 and M25 and right in the middle of the BTF’s South East region with the country’s highest levels of triathlon participation.
Even more so, the 12th Century Vachery Estate near Cranleigh sits in the shadow of the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The venue for the Festival’s swim action is Vachery Pond, a spring fed private reservoir. Hidden from view by a thick curtain of trees it is the most unexpected panorama of open water that disappears into the distance almost 1km away.
The weekend fun begins at midday on Saturday 25 August when the campsite opens. Athletes for the following day’s races are able to register then or up to an hour before their race start. The Saturday afternoon and evening is all about relaxing, enjoying the location and maybe a pre-race drink at the bar.
The road triathlon race programme starts early on Sunday morning 26 August with Sprint and Standard distance events for individuals and a relay for teams. The road triathlon bike courses are on country roads that are relatively flat and feature new smooth tarmac surfaces.
Cross triathletes get a very rare pre-race lie in, because the Festival’s cross tri action, which includes the only round of The Scott Xtri series in the South of England, starts in the afternoon. The swim section is the same as their road counterparts. But the cross bike section is on a 15km lap route designed by eight times XTERRA world championship round winner Sam Gardner.
Road and off-road triathlons use the same 5 and 10km run courses which are on relatively flat tracks, trails and paths including part of The Downs Link.
More information about the event is available at www.vacherytriathlon.com.